The courage to speak truth to power is something that all leaders, regardless of station, job description or type of organization, must be prepared to do. That is really the only way to make things better.
Complex organizations are full of unhappy, demoralized people who suffer fools and incompetence quietly. Unfortunately, the combination of ‘unhappy’ and ‘deathly silent’ does not make for a best practice in accountable leadership.
If something is wrong, as a leader you must speak your mind. You don’t have to blow your lid and insult people. But you do have an obligation to respectfully define your concerns, and express them in a way that encourages others to join the cause of making things better.
Finally, you need to play a role in finding and implementing a solution. It’s all well and good to be among the first to identify a problem. It takes resolve and real courage to play a role in defining the solution.
Think about your own performance as a leader. Do you speak up and identify problems when and where you see them? Are you among the first to volunteer to find solutions?
Or, do you just retreat to the lunchroom or coffee station to complain endlessly about how bad things are without offering a single idea on how to make things better?